Having a hard time finishing or starting your next editing project? I’m sure you’ve encountered days of sitting in the editing bay for 6 hours at the cushy New York video production company you’re working for and yet ending the day feeling as if you didn’t do much or just didn’t have a lot of work done.
If you’ve felt this before, (and let’s be honest, we all have) you were probably working in a state of complete distraction. There’s 10 minutes of work and 15 minutes of scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. Then 10 more minutes of work before you stand up to get coffee or chitchat with a coworker. You come back for another 5 or 10 minutes of editing before you start fiddling with your phone again and texting with a friend.
If this has been your working practice for a while and you’re tired of it. Here are some tips you can test out to help increase your productivity when editing.
The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro technique encourages you to break down your working time into 20 to 25 minute intervals. These are separated by short breaks in between. With Pomodoro, you get a short yet fully immersed focus time to get work done. Anything you do within those 25 minutes should be focused on the work only. You’re not allowed to get coffee, pick up your phone, chitchat or stare out the window. Just work. But once the 25 minutes is up, you take a short break. This is best done with a timer.
In the editing room, the Pomodoro technique can work great. First, you need to decide which editing task you’ll be doing. Then grab an actual kitchen timer or use your phone. (It’s better to use a traditional timer so you don’t get tempted by notifications on your phone.) Set the timer to 25 minutes and work on the editing task until the timer rings. Place a check mark on a piece of paper to indicate you’re done with the task. After each task, you can take a short 5 minute break. Once you’ve achieved 4 check marks, take a longer break. Then reset everything and begin again.
The great thing with Pomodoro is it helps funnel your focus during a specific period so you get stuff done.
Remember the old college days? If you were like most students, you probably waited until the last hour or the last week to cram for your exams or in submitting that final paper. As if by magic, despite no sleep, you miraculously produce a completed paper on the day of the deadline. In this case, Parkinson’s Law is in effect.
Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” In plain English, when deadlines are looming, you get stuff done!
By nature, humans are great procrastinators. Most of us always go with, “Why do it now when it can be done later?” Unless there’s a set deadline, a lot of the tasks we need to do would drag out much longer.
This is true for everything we do, making decisions, picking an outfit, choosing what to eat and of course, any other job we need to accomplish, including editing. To make up for this procrastinating nature, you can set solid deadlines for each editing task you have.
To make the consequences of missing a deadline severe, get accountability from your boss or colleague if you’re working for an independent video production service. If you’re working alone, get an accountability partner in your friend or family member. Tell them what you’re trying to do. Make it painful for you whenever you miss the deadline, like promise to pay them $100 if you don’t get it done on time.
This will make repercussions real to you. Sure, this might seem like going too far, but if you have issues with getting things done, this is an effective way to combat it.
Finding Your Flow State
On occasion you get lucky as an editor and you enter what is called a “flow state.” This period means you’re immersed in what you’re doing, completely energized and involved.
This can come from focusing on the task at hand or enjoying it so much you don’t pay attention to anything else. In this state, the hours feel like minutes and the level of creativity that pours out is all high quality. When you do find yourself in this situation, go with it. It’s rare and doesn’t happen naturally.
However, using the previous two techniques above can also help trigger the state of flow, once you keep them in mind.
Being productive in the editing bay is crucial if you want to churn out consistent good work. There’s no worse impression to give to a client than to send out low quality work way past the deadline.